17/12/2015 8:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

It's Easier to Remove Plaque From Your Teeth Than Your Arteries

close-up portrait of beautiful young woman in warm clothing smiling looking at camera isolated on white teeth toothy smile skin care face
Dedukh via Getty Images
close-up portrait of beautiful young woman in warm clothing smiling looking at camera isolated on white teeth toothy smile skin care face

Within the medical community, there is some debate regarding the connection between periodontal disease and cardiac disease. Most believe strongly that periodontal, or gum, disease can aggravate and or contribute to cardiac disease. However, there is no debate that gum disease is detrimental to one's overall health, and therefore should be prevented through a dental care regimen that includes regular visits to the dentist.

It's interesting to see the similarities between cardiac and gum diseases: both are highly prevalent, both often progress without pain, both are insidious, slow to develop and caused by plaque. In gum disease, plaque forms on the surface of teeth, trapping the bacteria and causing inflammation of the gums. In the case of coronary artery disease, it blocks the flow of blood, thereby cutting off the blood supply to part of the heart and triggering myocardial ischemia. Both plaques are different in nature, but both harbour a common range of bacteria.

Researchers throughout the world have established a possible link between oral health and a range of diseases, including cardiac disease. They all agree that a definitive relationship between the two exists. Regardless of the aetiology, the fact is that you can easily get plaque removed from your teeth, unlike your coronary arteries. So let's do what is easy and reduce the risk. Make an appointment with a dental surgeon and have the plaque and calculus removed for a "zero infection mouth".

At home, too, make sure you stick to a regular oral hygiene routine. The American Dental Association explains, "... gum/periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth." It is most often caused by poor oral hygiene -- in other words, by not brushing thoroughly or frequently enough, and not flossing on a daily basis. This allows the bacteria in plaque and calculus to stay on the teeth and infect the gums.

Here are a few simple basics for healthy gums and (perhaps) a healthier heart too:

• Brush twice and floss at least once a day; change your toothbrush often.

• Finger massage your gums and rinse well after every meal.

• Watch for the telltale signs of gum disease; oozing or bleeding from gums, foul smell or presence of pus etc and get immediate attention.

• Smoking, consumption of alcohol, obesity and a stressful life are aggravating factors. Even as you seek to remedy these particular habits or situations, you should get a professional scaling and curettage done by a dental surgeon for immediate benefits.

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